Mandelblit Defends Decision to Indict

YERUSHALAYIM -
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit holds a press conference at the Ministry of Justice in Jerusalem, announcing his decision that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will stand trial for bribery, fraud and breach of trust, November 21, 2019. (Hadas Parush/FLASH90)

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit on Thursday night defended himself against accusations that his handling of the cases against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‏‏ were influenced by political considerations.

Netanyahu had claimed repeatedly that the allegations against him were nothing more than a “witch hunt” with no factual basis.

Mandelblit said at a press conference, after news of the indictments was released, that the decision was made “only for legal considerations and based on evidence. No other consideration influenced me.”

However, he said it was “a difficult and sad day” and that his ruling was made “with a heavy heart but also without hesitation.”

He further urged that what he termed the “violent” discourse against the legal system must stop and be “denounced.”

“There is a difference between criticism and baseless conspiracy theories,” he said, referring to such suggestions various attacks on him and his office and police investigators made by Netanyahu and his loyalists.

He noted that he has not hesitated to close other investigations involving the premier when he found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.